It was wonderfully refreshing to come upon something on the Fringe that, by its very nature, had blown the one hour slot to smithereens; further, that tapped into a reserve of fun and ridiculousness that's all-too-often missing from the Fringe these days. Simply put, comedians Bob Slayer and Patrick Monahan had decided to try and break the world record for a continuous hug. Last year, stand-up Sanderson Jones had managed 24 hours, but those at Bob's book-less Bookshop on the evening of 7 August saw the pair get past 25 hours, 25 minutes.
Slayer is an Edinburgh-based comedian who admits to only setting up his own venue because he'd been banned from every other one in the city (as well as from many in Australia and Norway – he gets around, you know). With a post-hug drink in his hand, he added that, given the current competition, he'd been forced to 'hug a better comedian' to attract an audience. Clearly, it had worked.
To describe this 'show' as, technically, a rambling mess rather misses the point; this was the ultimate in improvisation (or the worst version of the Human Centipede ever– take your pick) with the pair high not on alcohol (although Slayer soon started to correct that oversight) but adrenaline and a lack of sleep. With another show happening in the back room and the likes of comic actor Miles Jupp, mentalist Doug Segal and the Scotsman's doyen of comedy Kate Copstick dropping in, it actually felt like you'd dropped into a rather rowdy party rather than a ticketed show.Yet, in one sense, Edinburgh's one hour rule was still there; Slayer had to point out that a different show did, technically, start at midnight. Given its near-identical roster of participants, though, it proved somewhat difficult to see the divide.